“It’s just time for other people,” he said.
Humbly, he doesn’t think his story has changed much over the years, but this young man entering his senior year of high school at Trumbull County Technical Center and Niles McKinley has been an inspiration to young people fighting some of the same health-related battles that he’s figured out how to overcome.
He may even make a profession out of his inherent “child whisperer-like” qualities.
“I’ve been told I give off a friendly presence about me,” he said about his considering staying two more years at TCTC to study in its early childhood education program. “People naturally take a liking to me, children especially.”
This year’s Radiothon takes place Sept. 27-28 from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day, and will be broadcast live on Mix 98.9 and 570 WKBN from the hospital’s Beeghly campus in Boardman.
Jordan was born with cerebral palsy, and has worn braces on his legs since he was little. He’s been treated at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley since 2008, mostly by pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sheryl Handler-Matasar and pediatric physiatrist Dr. Christopher Najarian.
Little children love him, his mother, Glenna Jordan, said. At physical therapy sessions Tyler’s the oldest one there now, and he often acts as a role model to the younger kids, who seek him out when they’re there.
“He sees scared children and he goes over to them and tells them not to be scared,” she said. “Then he’ll play with them, especially the ones that are getting their braces for the first time. He shows them his braces and lets them know they don’t stop you from doing anything.”
Tyler has overcome several challenges since birth when, in a breached position with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, so doctors had to perform an emergency C-section. His twin brother Nicholas was unaffected, but doctors initially feared Tyler may not live. Once he made it through the first week, the Jordans were told Tyler wouldn’t walk, nor likely talk.
But he certainly has something to say now. “Take that, doctors!”
Tyler Jordan has had the luxury of growing up with a mother and brother who – sometimes literally – fight for his right to experience life the same way other children do, as well as a father who, in Tyler’s words, acted drill sergeant-like by calling him out when he knew Tyler could do better.
“That’s how my husband and I raised him,” Glenna Jordan said. “It’s not a disability; it’s a limitation.”
In recent years, Tyler’s hips have deteriorated, and he’ll eventually need a full hip replacement on both legs. Otherwise, he said, he takes it day-by-day and feels great.
As for what he’d say to his Radiothon fans who may not hear from him for a while, he leaves a message of encouragement fit for everybody.
“If you really want to do something bad enough, work hard, try to improve your situation and one day you’ll be able to do it,” he said. “There’s nothing you can’t do; you just need to know your limits.”
And Tyler’s literally walking proof of that philosophy today.
Tune in to this year’s Miracles and Promises Radiothon from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sept. 27 and 28 on Mix 98.9 and 570 WKBN, or you can click here to make a donation.